Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Interesting Sunday at Santa Anita

This Sunday at Santa Anita, The Grade 2 San Luis Rey Stakes will be run. But that is not the focus of today's post, as the impending bad weather will affect this race in some major way, whether it is a less-than-firm turf course or taken completely off the turf. Instead, the focus will be on the three undercard races instead. In the 3rd, a field of five three year olds run in a maiden race, which marks the return of a $2.3m purchase. In the 5th, an allowance race marks the return of an undefeated horse who this blog has high hopes for going forward. The 8th race will be the Santa Paula Stakes for three year old fillies going 6 1/2 furlongs. Let us go through these races in the order they will be run, so let us start with the 3rd.

The 3rd is a maiden race for three year olds going a 1m & 1/16th. A compact field of 5 entered the race, but this race is not lacking in high quality animals. Four of the five runners were purchased in the ring, all for more than $100,000, with the only one being the 4/5 morning line favorite Midnight Interlude. This Arnold Zetcher homebred has run twice, just missing at this condition going a mile last month. He worked twice in the interim, and this son of War Chant should do well at this distance. The $2.3m purchase I mentioned earlier is Brock (right). This son of Distorted Humor finished behind future graded stakes winner Stay Thirsty in his debut, and has not run since. He has been training well over the winter at Santa Anita for most of the winter, with a 4 furlong blowout work coming into the race. With this being his first race since August, and his first route, this race will be a good spot to being his 2011 campaign. The others in the field all have started already. Southern Sculptor was a $300k weanling purchase in 2008, and ran 5th in his debut behind Fusa Code, who won the Borderland Derby next out. $500k purchase Grip Hands stretches out to a route for the first time. $115k purchase Big Business has finished behind Midnight Interlude in both starts.

The 5th race is a second-level allowance for older males going 6 1/2 furlongs. This race marks the 2010 debut of Capital Account. This 4 year old son of Closing Argument is an undefeated 2-for-2 in his career, after winning both his races in fast times. He is the highest selling son of Closing Argument, having been bought for $330,000 as a yearling back in 2008. Off since his win at Del Mar, he comes back with some stylish works, typical for his trainer Bob Baffert. He figures to be on or near the lead. With his 2011 debut today, he is added to the Ten's Top T-Breds list on the left side of this blog. His main danger figures to come from his stablemate Irrefutable. This son of Unbridled's Song is coming off a disappointing 5th place finish in an route turf race last out. He cuts back to a sprint, which he won in fast time two race back over this track. He might have some soundness issues, considering he is making only his 6th start at the age of five, but he does have some talent. Stacy's Hope drops out of graded company after finishing 5th in the Grade 2 San Carlos. He defeated Irrefutable at Hollywood Park last December.

The 8th is the $100,000 Santa Paula Stakes for 3yo fillies going 6 1/2 furlongs. The favorite is the Carla Gaines-trained Mildly Offensive. This daughter of Sharp Humor won her debut last out on a wet fast track last month going gate-to-wire in an impressive effort as the favorite. The second place finisher Home Sweet Aspen came back to win well. Mildly Offensive has thrown two swift works since the race, and looks very tough in here. California Nectar cuts back to a sprint after dueling into the ground in the Grade 1 one mile Las Virgenes Stakes. She won two sprint stakes at the meet already, the Cal Breeders' Champion Stakes and the Santa Ynez Stakes. She bounce out that effort with 3 works, though it take her a month work after that race. Hout Bay won a maiden race in fast time in January, and has kept a steady work tab since. She closed from well out of it going 5 & 1/2 furlongs in that debut.

Today figures to be a sloppy day of racing at the Great Race Place, but some good performances should appear. The 3rd, 5th and 8th races all have horses in them who could have a bright future in front of them, including a date with grade one races. Will they live up to the hype? Only time will tell. Good luck today everybody.


  1. Stay dry! I just sat down with the Sunday PP's for SA and with the weather I may just pass. I'm looking forward to your insights leading up to the Santa Anita Derby, I'm excited that the race returns to relevance outside of California.

  2. This is an interesting race, Chris. Brock was a colt with massive speed and early development when he sold last year in Fla. Have you heard any explanations about his long absence from racing?

    Cheers, Frank

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